- Evolution of the adaptive immune system
- Thymus and T cell development
The main focus of my research projects is the exploration of thymus biology. I am interested in retracing the evolutionary trajectory of thymopoiesis from early vertebrates to mammals. During evolution different members of the Foxn1/4 transcription factor gene family guide differentiation of the thymic microenvironment. The comparison of these different Foxn1 family members highlights molecular features responsible for the generation of a lymphoid organ that is highly specialized in T cell development.
Thymopoiesis critically depends on a functional thymic epithelial cell (TEC) compartment. Therefore, I am investigating TEC development as well as TEC heterogeneity using various experimental methods including bulk and single cell RNA sequencing especially in higher vertebrates. Studying thymus biology will positively impact the understanding and thus, the treatment of thymus-dependent autoimmune diseases.
- Undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Technical Biology at the University of Stuttgart, Germany (2003-2009)
- PhD student at the Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel, Switzerland (2009-2013)
- PhD Thesis “Hematopoietic Development and Immunological Tolerance” (2013)
- since 2014 Postdoc at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany
- J. Swann, A. Nusser, R. Morimoto, D. Nagakubo, T. Boehm, Retracing the evolutionary emergence of thymopoiesis. Science Advances 2020 (accepted manuscript)
- Hirakawa M, Nagakubo D, Kanzler B, Avilov S, Krauth B, Happe C, Swann JB, Nusser A, Boehm T. Fundamental parameters of the developing thymic epithelium in the mouse. Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 23;8(1)
- Nusser, A., Nuber, N., Wirz, O., Rolink, J., Andersson, J. & Rolink, A. The development of autoimmune features in aging mice is closely associated with alterations of the peripheral CD4⁺ T-cell compartment. Eur J Immunol. 2014 Oct;44(10)